Pro-Russian authorities postpone referendum in Kherson region
Moscow, Sep 5 (EFE).- Pro-Russian authorities in the occupied Ukrainian city of Kherson have postponed a referendum on becoming part of Russia, amid a Kyiv counteroffensive to regain territory taken by Russian forces in the south of the country.
“We have prepared for the vote. We wanted to organize the referendum as soon as possible, but due to current events, I think we will take a break for now,” the deputy head of the region’s pro-Russian Military-Civil Administration, Kiril Stremousov, told Russian state television.
The Moscow-imposed authorities had discussed holding the referendum in autumn, but Stremousov said the priority now is to “feed the population and ensure its security”.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of the Occupied Territories, Iryna Vereshchuk, said Saturday that “there will be no referendum”, and warned the citizens of the region that voting would be a crime punishable by up to 12 years in prison.
“Not even 2%” of the residents of the Russian-controlled territories would participate “in a pseudo-referendum,” she said.
Stremousov responded to these statements Monday by insisting that Kherson “is a liberated territory and everything you do, these threats, are a meaningless cry.”
“We are not afraid (…) We already said it: Kherson will always be Russian. People are ready to turn out to vote in the referendum to become a full-fledged subject of a large and unified country that can defend us,” he said. EFE